Frequency of self-reported allergies at a high-complexity referral hospital in Colombia, a tropical Latin American country

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Lucía C. Pérez-Herrera
Sergio Moreno-López
Daniel Peñaranda
Elizabeth García
Edgardo Chapman
Augusto Peñaranda


allergic rhinitis, asthma, drug allergy, food allergy, tropics


Background: The frequency of allergic diseases in tropical Latin American populations is poorly understood, and certain particularities can impact their natural history and risk factors.

Objective: The study aimed to determine the frequency of self-reported allergies (allergic diseases, drug, and food allergies) in patients who attended the Hospital Universitario Fundación Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia.

Material and methods: A retrospective study was conducted to assess the frequency of self-reported allergies reported by all the patients who attended an allergy referral center between June and December 2019.

Results: A total of 60978 patients were included. Allergic rhinitis was reported by 1.51% (n= 921), asthma by 1.28% (n = 782), and atopic dermatitis by 0.41% (n = 250) of the study population. A higher frequency of self-reported allergic diseases (rhinitis, asthma, and dermatitis) was found in the younger populations, while drug allergies were more frequently reported in adults. The most frequently self-reported drug allergies were penicillin allergy (4.07%, n = 2479), and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) allergy (1.85%, n = 1116). The most commonly reported food allergens included shellfish (0.58%), fruits (0.54%), cow’s milk protein (0.37%), and eggs (0.21%).

Conclusion: The distribution of food allergens showed a higher frequency of shrimp and fruit allergies compared to previous studies on African, Asian, and Arabic tropical populations that describe a higher predominance of egg and milk allergies. Patients reporting allergic diseases should always be referred to the allergology department for confirmatory testing.

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